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Heads’l Sheet Pennants

Much of Picton Castle‘s rigging has been sent down from aloft and brought into our warehouse for the winter. This helps protect it from the harsh Canadian winter weather, and it also allows us to work on it so that everything is in great shape when it goes back up in the spring.

Kjetil and Ben have recently been working on overhauling the heads’l sheet pennants. They started each one by cutting away the old chafe gear, seizing and serving then removing the block from the wire eye. The block was taken apart, the wood outside was scraped and oiled, the sheave inside was wire brushed and greased to make sure it can turn smoothly, and put back together again. You can see on the left in the photo below that the block was sitting in the eye, ready for the next step. The wire splice was in good shape still, so it did not have to be replaced. The next step was to worm and parcel the splice. Worming means filling in the grooves between the strands of wire with marlin and parcelling means wrapping a strip of fabric around the splice over the worming to help keep it in place and make the surface more even. Next the splice and the eye were served, meaning that marlin is wrapped tightly around the wire, over the worming and parcelling, to protect the wire. The serving is then covered in a generous amount of pine tar which helps to preserve it. The block is held into the eye by a seizing, which you can see in the middle of the photo, also made with marlin. The last step is to protect it further by sewing leather around the splice which protects the serving. The leather is soaked in warm water to make it flexible, then sewn on by hand.

The sheet pennant is about six feet long and connects the clew of the sail (the aft corner of a fore and aft sail) to the sheet (the line that controls the trim of the sail). One end of the sheet is made fast, the other end goes through the block and to the pin rail. On the other end of the sheet pennant, a shackle connects it to the clew of the sail. The process for overhauling the other end is much the same, just without the block. The old chafe gear, seizing and serving are cut away, the splice inspected, then the splice and they eye are wormed, parcelled, served and covered in leather.

Ben sews leather around an eye
Sheet pennants in stages
Sheet pennants other end

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